Page 42 - BusinessWest October 13, 2021
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Amanda Hichborn says staying home more has benefited people’s health in some ways, but the pandemic has had plenty of negative effects, too.
However, she was quick to point out that, while we may all be in this togeth- er, we’re not all in the same boat.
“Vulnerable groups like disenfran- chised people were already struggling with basic needs,” she said. “Throw the pandemic on top of it, and their needs are impacted tenfold.”
Young people in particular have had a tough time with the pandemic. Alane Burgess, clinic director of the BestLife Emotional Health & Wellness Center
at the Mental Health Assoc. (MHA), noted that, while depression and anxi- ety have increased for all ages, it’s been particularly tough for adolescents, and suicidal thoughts and attempts are on
the rise.
“With adolescence, there is a sense
of permanency that things won’t change,” Burgess said. “When they experience social isolation, it feels like forever to them.”
Kristy Navarro, a clinical supervisor at MHA, said keeping young people safe in a pandemic can run counter to how parents raise their kids.
“Normally we want our kids to share, but now we’re saying, ‘don’t share, and don’t touch anything,’” she said. “When we discourage sharing things with friends, it can be a hin- drance to the growth and development of young children and adolescents.”
Managing the Stress
Dan Millman agrees that the pan- demic has affected young people in unique ways.
“It can be hard for young people who miss rites of passage like gradu- ations and other celebrations and rituals,” he said. “Another part is the social stuff like having fun with friends and being independent. All of that
has been much harder to do with the pandemic.”
Millman is the director of Ser-
“I talk with people about what they can and cannot control. Though we can’t control events outside,
we can control ourselves and our responses to those events.”
viceNet’s DBT program, or dialectical behavior therapy, an evidence-based approach to psychotherapy that can be effective with people who are exhibit- ing self-destructive behaviors.
DBT differs from conventional therapy in that it follows a more struc- tured protocol. The six-month program is designed to give clients the skills to manage the urges to engage in self- harming behaviors. Millman described four main techniques of DBT:
• Mindfulness, a skill that helps the client focus on healthy coping skills to prevent negative thought patterns and impulsive behavior, and which is inte- grated throughout DBT techniques;
• Distress tolerance, which is most effective in improving a moment with soothing or distraction skills. “The point of this skill is to help survive the crisis without making things worse,” Millman said;
• Emotion regulation, a technique that allows clients to strengthen their emotional resiliency to more effectively navigate powerful feelings; and
• Interpersonal effectiveness, which Millman described as developing
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